The other night Carrie took advantage of my newly acquired old age and threw a surprise birthday party for me. I was completely taken by surprise – Carrie’s expressions and her activities can usually be read like a book which means I go about thinking I’m smart as a whip, seeing all, knowing all. Not this time. Not even close.
The entire day I’d been sort of crabby – I was having a difficult time with some of my projects and was fighting burn out. I was grubby, unshaven, unshowered, and down to my last bits of clean clothing (which meant I was probably wearing just shorts or maybe my favorite jeans with a huge rip in the butt). Somehow she was able to convince me to take a shower in the afternoon (totally not my thing) and put some nicer clothing on.
The craziest thing is that when I look back on the entire week or two previous, the clues were there, and abundant.
- There was the huge lasagna she made weeks ago in the freezer that I kept begging her to thaw so we could eat it suddenly thawing in the fridge that day.
- Leah spent the night at her aunt and uncle’s, and Carrie feverishly cleaned the entire house from baseboard to ceiling, a task none too small. She tried recruiting me, but I saw no pressing need to detail the window sills, so kept to my crabby self while she toiled on. No doubt she couldn’t explain to me why she was unleashing the spirit of Martha Stewart in our house.
- There was the afternoon shower followed by suggestions of “you should take a nap” on a Friday afternoon, with four major work projects in full tilt.
- Ryan Carver nearly blew it by sending me an IM saying “6:00PM at your place?” that I assumed was him writing in the wrong window. The thought had been on my mind that day, as earlier I had told someone in Texas about how snowboarding was gonna rock. I used the word dude in quantities reserved only for people who would really care. So, naturally, Ryan made the same mistake as me, or at least he was able to play it off without me suspecting a thing.
- I think there was some shifting of vehicles in preparation for extra vehicles arriving that I wrote off as Carrie being weird as usual.
- Carrie tried getting me out of the house at the last second before guests arrived. “Kiera is bringing over some cupcakes and we don’t have any ice cream, go get some.” My response was, of course, “No, I’m crabby, I don’t want any damn ice cream.” She improvised by telling me to watch the kids, and she went herself, eventually gathering people in the front yard to come marching in in force.
For nearly all who visited the trip to our place was a trek. Seeing them arrive was sort of surreal and confusing. I saw Vic first and my mind first said “there’s a familiar face in my window but it seems so out of context”, and it was.
All in all, I was impressed with Carrie’s stealth, and impressed that everyone came out to wish me a good birthday. Thanks everyone!